HC Deb 18 May 1971 vol 817 cc1070-1
26. Mr. Woodhouse

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will authorise the use of money from the Pakistan Flood Relief Fund for purposes of civil relief arising from the recent internal conflict in East Pakistan.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

I understand that my hon. Friend is referring to the money collected by a consortium of charities at the time of the cyclone disaster. Ministers of the Crown do not have the power to direct or authorise that money raised by public appeal for one charitable purpose shall be used for another.

Mr. Woodhouse

Although I recognise that people who subscribe to charity for a specific purpose would normally, rightly, resent having their money diverted to another purpose, would my hon. Friend not agree that the similarity of purpose in this case is so close that to insist on such a restriction is not only pedantic but inhumane?

Mr. Jenkin

I appreciate what my hon. Friend is saying. I recognise that many of those who subscribed to the fund would probably be only too happy that their money should go to relieve distress in the civil war, but I am sure my hon. Friend recognises that there would be dangers if the Government had power to authorise diversion from charitable funds from one object to another at the instance of the fund organisers, when the first commitment is not yet fully discharged.

Mr. Greville Janner

Will the hon. Gentleman say how much the Government are proposing to pay towards the relief of this dreadful disaster area?

Mr. Jenkin

That is not a question for me.